Miles Jupp, one of Britain’s leading stand-up comedians and revered actors (Mock the Week, Balamory, The News Quiz, Rev, The Durrells), will visit Birmingham Repertory Theatre from March 11-16, with The Life I Lead, a new play by James Kettle, directed by Selina Cadell.
Best remembered for playing ‘Mr Banks’ in Disney’s classic film Mary Poppins and ‘Professor Emelius Browne’ in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, British actor David Tomlinson was renowned for playing the classic English gent: forthright, proper, and a loveable fool. His meeting with Walt Disney came to encapsulate his incredible life full of adventure and heartbreak. The Life I Lead sees Miles Jupp bringing David Tomlinson’s remarkable story to life.
As a World War Two fighter pilot, his early life contained action and adventure; but he suffered huge heartbreak with the tragic death of his first wife, and his fight to have his son Willie recognised as one of the first British cases of autism. The man who portrayed one of cinema’s most famous patriarchs was also defined by his relationship with his own father – a remote eccentric, who was hiding an extraordinary tragicomic secret.
The Life I Lead is a richly comic and moving tale of fathers and sons across the generations and fills in the blanks behind a very well-known face.
Miles Jupp said:
“I was attracted to this first because of the character of Tomlinson himself – a man whose acting performances seemed effortless but concealed a great skill beneath the surface and not a little magic. And then by the story of his life, beautifully written by my frequent collaborator James Kettle, which is full of surprises. It is a script that contains both comedy and moments of extraordinary sadness and pain and I hope that under the direction of Selina Cadell, one of my most favourite people in the world, I can do the play and Tomlinson justice.”
Described by the Telegraph as “a very British tour-de-force”, Miles Jupp has appeared as a performer across a wide range of genres – from stand-up comedy and theatre to major television series and Hollywood films. His extensive screen credits include the award-winning BBC2 sitcom Rev, The Thick Of It, Outnumbered and Gary: Tank Commander as well as the popular children’s TV show, Balamory, The Crown on Netflix, Howards End for the BBC, and The Durrells and Bad Move for ITV, as well as appearances on Have I got News For You, QI, Mock the Week, Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, Live At the Apollo, James And Jupp. George Clooney’s The Monuments Men, Michael Winterbottom’s The Look Of Love, Nigel Cole’s Made In Dagenhamand Jon Stewart’s Rosewater. In 2012, Miles made his National Theatre debut in Alan Bennett’s People and in 2015 went on to perform in the theatre’s critically acclaimed production of Rules for Living alongside Stephen Mangan. He has also appeared in The Way Of The World at Northampton Royal Theatre, A Death In The Death Of Joe Egg at the Glasgow Citizens and Neville’s Island in the West End.
James Kettle is both a narrative and entertainment comedy writer, and a long-time collaborator with Miles Jupp; lead writer of BBC Radio 4’s The News Quiz, and numerous episodes of In and Out the Kitchen. His other writing credits include four series of the Rose D’Or nominated Tom Wrigglesworth’s Hang ups, three series of Can’t Tell Nathan Caton Nothing, four series of Wordaholics and he also writes live tour material for comedians such as Joe Lycett, Jason Byrne, and Susan Calman.
The Life I Lead is produced by Jonathan Church Productions and Exeter Northcott, directed by Selina Cadell, designed by Lee Newby.